Why writing your own web copy could be a false economy

School

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  • Have you got a website?
  • Has that website got Google analytics or other web stats on it?
  • Have you ever looked at those analytics?
  • Have you ever made a change to your web content as a result of your analytics?
  • When was the last time you updated your web copy?

Those are some of the questions I ask at the beginning of a website workshop.

There is usually some embarrassed laughter at question three, when people realise there is no point having analytics if you never look at them. I give out a prize after question five to the person who has updated their website most recently as a result of what their analytics show.

These days, many people have a Content Management System (CMS) website that they can update themselves. WordPress is by far the most popular CMS platform. According to W3Techs quoted on Wikipedia, it was used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites by January 2015.

But, just because the technology exists to enable you to write your own web copy, it doesn’t mean you should.

Learning how to throw a sentence together at school doesn’t mean you can write effective, compelling web copy.

Admit it. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Be aware that your site has two audiences: people who already know you and are simply looking for your contact details, and strangers who need to be convinced that you are the supplier to choose. You have to provide content and a customer journey that meets the needs of both audiences.

A professional copywriter knows how to translate the core message of your business into language that appeals to your target customers. They are aware of which marketing tips, tricks and techniques are most effective. And they know the psychological triggers that compel the reader to take action.

If you complain that your website doesn’t work, perhaps it’s the copy that’s the problem.

For example, I had a client who was an image consultant. She had paid thousands for a beautiful web design, and written her own copy. However, after three months she didn’t get a single enquiry. I rewrote some key pages and within a week she had six enquiries, including one for a potential corporate project.

What’s more, some people fondly imagine that the minute their website goes live, it will receive millions of views.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. You have to work hard to get your website found.

You may do off-line marketing with the objective of driving traffic to your website, pay for ads, and/or try Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which has been described as a bit of a ‘dark art’.

As a business owner, you don’t need to learn everything about SEO yourself.

Everyone wants to appear at the top of page 1 on Google, but the goalposts are moving all the time. For example, keywords and phrases are increasingly less important while inbound links are more important – that means, rather than writing nothing but sales messages, your site needs content that adds value in the hope people will link to it.

A professional copywriter or SEO consultant can advise you about SEO or manage it for you. (By the way, no one can guarantee you top spot on Google, so don’t believe anyone who makes that claim.)

There are lots of tips online to help you write your own web copy and optimise your site. However, as soon as you have sufficient budget, I recommend you find an expert you can trust, so you can focus on your core business.

I wrote this article for the Corporate Escape Club

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